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How to Write an Effective iOS App Store Description

Learn how to write an app description for the iOS App Store. Check out the best tips, dos and don’ts of how to write an effective app description to drive sales and downloads. Atlanta Mobile App Development – Winnona Partners.

Written by Jonathan Richter

5 Best Practices for How to Write an Effective App Store Description:

1. Familiarize yourself with Apple’s guidelines
2. Research competitor or “Editor’s Choice” app descriptions
3. Carefully craft your first sentence (140 characters)
4. Speak directly to your audience
5. Complete your full description & list of features

If you’ve done all the hard work to conceptualize and develop your mobile application for the iOS App Store–congratulations! You’ve already accomplished what many ‘wantrepreneurs’ seek to do but never fully commit to finishing. As your project gets ready for launch, however, one of the most important preparatory steps left is to write a compelling app description to complete your product page for the App Store.

Just like any business, your role as a founder is to help potential customers/users navigate through the awareness, consideration, and decision stages of the buyer’s journey (the HubSpot mantra). After initially driving traffic to your app’s product page through social media or other advertising campaigns (awareness – consideration), the app description is one of your last chances to convince prospective app users to take the final step and tap that download button (consideration – decision)!

The app description is the place to convey your brand’s identity in a way that resonates with your audience, and lets them know who you are and what your app is all about. With so much riding on acquiring a new user, the importance of the App Store description cannot be understated.

Wondering how to create an app? Check out our free guide to get started.

What Should Your App Description Include?

How does one write a compelling App Store description? Generally speaking, your app description will include concise and informative introductory paragraphs, followed by a short list of core features.

Here’s 5 tips we’ve put into action over the years to help inspire people to download an app:

1. Familiarize yourself with Apple’s guidelines
2. Research competitor or “Editor’s Choice” app descriptions
3. Carefully craft your first sentence (140 characters)
4. Speak directly to your audience
5. Complete your full description & list of features

1. Familiarize Yourself with Apple’s Guidelines

While Apple does allow for you express creativity with your app description, there are some app metadata guidelines and rules to be aware of. Unfortunately if these guidelines aren’t followed, your app could be rejected in the app review process–ultimately delaying your app release. Here’s some of the well-known standards we recommend you follow:

• Avoid using the word “app” in the description, such as “this app” or “the app can…”. Instead replace those phrases with the name of your product or service. People are already viewing your product page in the App Store, so the fact that you’re promoting an app is obvious!
• Don’t list features that aren’t actually included in your app.
• Don’t repeat information unnecessarily.
• Avoid including pricing in your app description. Pricing is already listed on the product page, and the price you write in the description may not accurately reflect the price for all countries or regions.
• Don’t list a bunch of keywords for the sake of trying to improve your search results.
• Write an honest description that is clear, unique, and informative.

The product page metadata guidelines are subject to change, so we recommend you familiarize yourself with the most up to date rules here.

2. Research Competitor or “Editor’s Choice” App Descriptions

Struggling to find inspiration? One of the best ways to get started with your product page is to look up other popular and successful apps and see how they’ve composed their app descriptions. You can either analyze the descriptions of your direct competitors, or look up Apple’s “Editor’s Choice” apps to see how those app descriptions are effectively reaching their target audience(s).

More often than not, you’ll find the format of these descriptions to be similar (introductory paragraphs, short list of features). However, researching successful app descriptions can also show you how these brands are able to strike a unique tone with their audience. Word choice, sentence structure, and the amount of information provided can all play a role in how an audience may perceive your product.

How are your competitors speaking to your audience? What are areas where your service or product is superior to your competitors, and how can you make that known in your app description? These are the types of questions you’ll want to ask yourself as you compose your effective app description.

3. Carefully Craft Your First Sentence

While your app description can have up to 4,000 characters, the first sentence or two of your app description (approximately 140 characters) is the most important as this is the only content that’s displayed without a page visitor needing to tap to see more:

App Store description snippet, showing that you can include approximately 144 characters
App Description: First Sentence Snippet of My Typewriter, a Winnona Partners client.

As you can see from the screenshot above, the first sentence snippet is relatively short, so every word counts! The amount of text displayed may vary depending on a user’s screen size. Try to be creative and inspiring, while at the same time describing why your app is the best solution to the problem at hand.

Note: Other articles have quoted the snippet to show up to 255 characters, but as of 2020 this seems to have decreased significantly.

4. Speak Directly to Your Audience

When you’re crafting your app description, make sure you’re speaking directly to your intended audience. Occasionally we see app descriptions where people are simply describing the app or how it works as if they’re talking to an outsider. Sentences like these may read something like:

“Our app can help people find workout routines. Users can buy an in-app purchase if they want to focus on specific workout styles.”

While this type of description may be useful for an investor or the general public, the app description should really address the need your app is satisfying head-on, using the exact language that will resonate with your potential user.

Now that we’ve seen the rather dry example sentence above, let’s look at the opening sentences from one of our client apps, BODIED, which reached #4 in the Health and Fitness category:

“With these exclusive routines by professional instructor Jenelle Butler, working out has never been easier. Whether you’re looking to lose weight, gain weight, increase speed and agility, or improve your diet, BODIED workout solutions are just a tap away!”

Notice how this example hits all the major pain points a potential user may be facing, while also validating what all the app can do and why it’s the best on the market.

5. Complete your full description & list of features

While the opening paragraph is important from a first-impression standpoint, that doesn’t mean you should neglect the rest of the app description. You have up to 4,000 characters to tell your story, and to prove that your app is worth someone’s valuable time and money. We recommend you write an app description that is thorough and nearly fulfills the 4,000 character mark.

After one or two introductory paragraphs, you may want to include a short list of features that highlight what your app can do and what makes it unique. This “list” of features could either be a bullet list with short snippets of information OR it could be a list of features written out in longer form with a more detailed description of the feature. Here’s an example of both formats with content from the BODIED app:

Bullet List of Features:

PERSONALIZED ROUTINES
• Create a profile
• Instantly calculate your BMI
• Track your workout goals with a calendar
• Premium Challenges available as an In-App Purchase

Written Form of Features:

PERSONALIZED ROUTINES
Create a profile for quick access to your favorite videos and instantly calculate your BMI by providing basic info such as your birthday and weight. The Bodied calendar helps you track your workout goals and routines, along with premium Challenges you can purchase to guarantee you get the most out of your workout.

Both description formats can be effective at conveying your feature set, so you and your team should try exploring both styles and discuss which format may be most effective for which feature set. In this instance, BODIED went with the “Written Form” text.

Conclusion

Your app description is the perfect opportunity for you to provide a detailed description of your app features–and your brand identity–directly to your audience. As the App Store gets more and more crowded, having a clear and effective app description that sets you apart from the competition is a necessity. Remember, you can always change your app description with an app update, so make sure to spruce it up from time to time as your company grows, awards are won, or new features are introduced.

So get your creative writing hat on, make sure you have some form of spell check to ensure you don’t make any typos, and get ready to write an app description that is convincing and unique!

We hope you found the tips in the article helpful. If you have any questions about app descriptions or the app development process, please get in touch with us and we’ll be happy to assist you! You can also check out Apple’s Product Page Optimization content for more information.

Got an amazing app idea but aren’t sure where to get started? Learn how to develop an app here.

Stay informed about our projects and events! You can follow the Winnona Partners on Apple News, Google News, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram.

By Jonathan Richter

Jonathan is CEO of Winnona Partners, a custom software development company based in Atlanta, GA. He's also classical guitarist, and has studied Chinese language, music and culture extensively.

1 reply on “How to Write an Effective iOS App Store Description”

This is very helpful. As we’ve discussed, our team has struggled with who we are actually speaking to in our description. It’s tough to switch from speaking about the app, to directly speaking to your audience. Thanks for sharing.

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